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  • Place of origin:

    Egypt (possibly, made)
    Syria (possibly, made)

  • Date:

    14th century (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Fritware painted under the glaze

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Islamic Middle East, Room 42, The Jameel Gallery, case 16, shelf 1

Storage jar decorated under the glaze in blue and black. The body is emblazoned with large calligraphic motifs, left in reserve so that they stand out against the darker ground. Smaller bands of calligraphy in black on white decorate the shoulder and the foot. Arabic calligraphy is a dominant presence on the decoration of this jar, even though most of it does not have any recognisable meaning. This is one of a group of impressively large jars made during the Mamluk period for storing and transporting foodstuffs. They were richly decorated, either in underglaze, as here, or in lustre.

Physical description

Large jar decorated on the body with large calligraphic motifs, with a band of smaller calligraphy at shoulder and above the footring. There is a band of upright birds around the neck, and the ground is filled with floral scrolls. Lip, neck and body are outlined by black bands.

Place of Origin

Egypt (possibly, made)
Syria (possibly, made)


14th century (made)



Materials and Techniques

Fritware painted under the glaze


Height: 37 cm

Descriptive line

Storage jar with blue and black decoration including schematic calligraphy, Egypt or Syria, 14th century.

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Tim Stanley (ed.), with Mariam Rosser-Owen and Stephen Vernoit, Palace and Mosque: Islamic Art from the Middle East, London, V&A Publications, 2004

Labels and date

White earthenware painted in underglaze black and blue.
SYRIAN ; 14th century. [Used until 11/2003]
Storage Jars
Egypt or Syria

The jar on the right has ornamental patterns of a long-established kind. In the jar on the left, these have been displaced by schematic inscriptions in Arabic. The most prominent is the repetition of a single word meaning 'glory'.

Fritware painted under the glaze

Museum nos. 483, 618-1864 [Jameel Gallery]




Middle East Section

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